Roofing Terms 101: Unlocking the Terminology of Residential Roofing

Roofing Terms 101: Unlocking The Terminology Of Residential Roofing

What’s the difference between a soffit and a fascia? Does flashing lay on top of the shingles or under them? Who can explain to me why my roof needs a drip edge? What is a drip edge anyway? In any business, including the roofing profession, specific “industry lingo” can cause the average consumer considerable confusion.

Since the typical residential homeowner does not utilize these words and roofing terms regularly, communicating knowledgeably with a roofing contractor can seem daunting. 

Simplifying Roofing Terms: What You Need To Know

Many roofing terms are interchangeable. Others are extremely detailed and specific. This “mini glossary” will start with the outermost layer of roofing (the visible portion), beginning at the roof’s apex (highest point), proceeding inward to the roof’s underlying framework (the “hidden” portion), and extending downward to the roof’s eave (lowest edge).

The Dimensional Parts Of A Roof

Roof Term Diagram. The Diagram indicates where the roof valley, ridge, vents, boots, flashing, roof plane, drip edge, eave, soffit, and fascia are. Each component in highlighted in red.
Ridge A ridge is the horizontal line that runs along the peak of your roof.
PlaneA plane is the surface of your roof (i.e., what you see visually).
ValleyA valley is the place where two roof planes meet to form a v-shape.
VentA vent helps hot air escape from your home. Many types of vents exist.
Boot A boot is a special vent, which stops toxic fumes from building up inside your home.
FlashingForged as thin (but flexible) sheets of metal to prevent water penetration through the roof and redirect water away from certain roof areas, flashing comes in various forms. Typically, it is incorporated at an intersection or protrusion (e.g., chimney, skylight, vent).
Common types of roof flashing include the following:
(1) Apron (Headwall), (2) Cap, (3) Chimney, (4) Continuous, (5) Counter, (6) Drip Edge, (7) Gutter Apron, (8) Kickout, (9) Rake, (10) Skylight, (11) Skip, (12) Step, (13) Valley, (14) Vent Pipe
Drip EdgeThe drip edge is a protective metal strip installed along the roof’s edge.
EaveAlso known as an overhang, the eave extends beyond the exterior walls.
FasciaThe fascia is the horizontal board situated just below the end of the roofline.
SoffitThe soffit is the underside of the roof’s eave. It provides attic ventilation.

Outer “Visible” Layers Of A Roof

Subsurface “Hidden” Layers Of A Roof

Ridge Cap ShinglesAlso known as “Hip and Ridge Shingles” or “Hip and Ridge Caps,” ridge cap shingles are the layer of highly adhesive shingles installed along the roof’s uppermost ridge (apex). They are thicker but dimensionally smaller than standard shingles, and are pre-bent (molded) to fit along the ridge snuggly.
Ridge VentsRidge vents are installed into the roof’s ridge, running along its entire length. They are situated underneath the ridge cap shingles. Ridge vents are not easily visible from ground level, but they are vital. They provide an exhaust ventilation system to allow airflow out of the attic.
Asphalt ShinglesAlthough there are different styles, the average home has either 3-tab or architectural (dimensional) shingles. Standard 3-tab shingles consist of three notches, which are 12” wide. Architectural shingles are thicker and sturdier. They also last 10-15 years longer than 3-tab shingles.
UnderlaymentSandwiched between the roof deck and the shingles is the underlayment, which is a protective layer that provides an additional safeguard against moisture intrusion and other weather elements like wind and cold. Typically, underlayment is made from rubberized asphalt, asphalt-saturated felt, or non-bitumen synthetic materials.
Ice and Water ShieldThis waterproof membrane acts as a barrier against water seeping through the roof. It protects the roof deck and the sublayers if water penetrates the outer roofing material (shingles). Generally, a roofer adds this shield on or around roof valleys, penetrations, and flat or low-slope roof segments.
Roof DeckAlso referred to as “Sheathing,” the roof deck sits over the framing and serves as the base on which a roof installer will place other elements, including the underlayment and shingles. Most homes have plywood or OSB sheets. The roof deck also provides a practical nail bed for attaching shingles.
Starter ShinglesCommonly known as “Starter Strips,” these shingles are the initial ones installed along the roof’s eaves (lowest edges). Many roofers also will install them at the gables. Gables are the triangular ends created when the roof’s two sloped sides come together at the ridge. common to most roofs. Starter shingles prevent water infiltration and wind uplift.
Roofing Terms for Outer Visible Layer of A Roof. Terms include, Ridge Cap Shingles, Ridge Vents, and Asphalt Shingles.
Roofing Terms for Subsurface Hidden Layers of a Roof. Terms include, Underlayment, Ice and water shield, Roof Deck, and Starter Shingles.

Working With A Reputable Roofing Professional

If you own a home in Indianapolis or a surrounding community, Moss Roofing provides the knowledge and experience you need to complete your roofing project correctly the first time. We treat you with respect and dignity, educating you on the roofing process and patiently answering any questions. Above all other considerations, our roofing professionals strive to communicate well, and earn your trust and satisfaction. To learn more about our roofing services or schedule an appointment, contact Moss Roofing today.

Share This Article Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Pinterest Icon LinkedIn Icon
Scroll to Top